New report claims Black Christians responsible for keeping Christian tradition, faith alive in UK
The former head of the Thinktank Christian Research said recently that church attendance among black communities continues to rise, while mainstream church attendance has hit an all time low in the UK.
Peter Brierley, former head of Christian Research, said that should the trend continue, by 2015 about 25 percent of churchgoers in England will be from non-white communities, according to Christian Today.
The Pentecostal movement in the UK has seen marked growth, and it continues to see increasing numbers of church attendees.
Meanwhile the mainstream Anglican, Catholic and Church of England are experiencing sharp decline, according to Bishop Llewellyn Graham of the Church of God, according to Black Mental Health UK.
Brierley attributed the growth in numbers of the black community churches to the fact that neighbors invite friends to their church, and the preaching is relevant and delivered with energy, BMH UK said.
Work leaders in black churches take the effort to recognize the needs of people from their communities–whether they are young people, the socially excluded or those with mental health needs, BMH UK reported.
Because black churches meet churchgoers at their point of need, church going gains relevance in the members’ lives. They identify with the church, and going to service becomes something they genuinely want to do.
By contrast Brierley’s research showed a sharp decline in church attendance across English counties, with only 12 counties showing a six percent church attendance of the local population, and seven counties showing a five and one half percent or less church attendance of the local population, Christian Today said.
Should the current trend continue Brierley projects that all counties across the UK will have a churchgoing population of four and a half percent or less by 2020.
The decline is blamed on less evangelism and the increasing number of deaths among the aged, who comprise much of the population who attend church.
Of particular concern is the finding that 80 percent of those 15 years old or younger are not attending church. Also, 75 percent of those aged 15-29 years do not attend church.
Brierley said that by 2020 many of the older churchgoers will have passed away. Fifty years ago, over half of the people living in the UK attended Church on a weekly basis, Christian Today reported.
Despite the decline in church attendance, an estimated 58 percent of the population claims they have a belief in Christianity, whereas atheists and agnostics represent 33 percent of the population.
Forty five percent of adults still attend Christmas services, and 44 percent attend church weddings, baptisms or funerals, and just 31 percent attend church on Easter or Harvest festival.
Brierley’s research also pointed to the challenges posed by the aging clergy within the main denominations.
Bishop Graham said, “Ministers tend to attract members of their age, so to attract young people you need a younger minster,” the BMH UK reported.